If you love horses, you have probably seen some of the most famous horse paintings, from Whistlejacket by George Stubbs to Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David. But what other paintings have horses inspired such admiration and affection? Below, we take a look at 8 of the greatest works of art depicting horses. Read on to find out what they mean and why they’re so famous.
Whistlejacket by George Stubbs
Whistlejacket is an 18th century British painting by George Stubbs. The painting was inspired by the love of sculpture that Rockingham developed after his Grand Tour of Italy. Rockingham was a keen horseracing fan and owner. He also served two terms as prime minister of the United Kingdom. He traveled around Europe extensively, visiting museums and galleries. Critics have noted the similarity of the image to classical friezes. The painting has been hailed as one of the finest works of art ever created by a British artist.
The portraits of the English aristocracy were usually on a grand scale. This shows that the artists of the time sought to capture the character of each subject. The aristocracy was enamored with horse racing and breeding. The artists, like Stubbs, recognized the individuality of each horse. Their knowledge of animal anatomy and behavior helped them produce beautiful paintings.
Horse Frightened by a Thunderstorm
Eugene Delacroix’s famous painting, Horse Frightened by a Thunderstorm, depicts a stallion, terrified by a thunderstorm. It was probably inspired by another painting by the Impressionist theodore Gericault, Isabelle the Horse Frightened by a Thunderstorm. The painting is a beautiful example of Delacroix’s masterful use of colour and brushwork to depict the intense fear felt by the horse. It is set against a stormy sky, which is illuminated by the horse’s rear.
The artist also studied the horses at the Paris Horse Market, where he wore traditional men’s clothing to avoid being harassed. This allowed him to paint the horses as they really were instead of adding an emotional effect. Many other artists gave the eyes of horses an affectative effect, but Delacroix decided to capture the true expression of the animals.
Napoleon Crossing the Alps by Jacques-Louis David
The painting Napoleon Crossing the Alps by François David uses symbolism and allegorical representations to illustrate the power of Napoleon Bonaparte’s leadership. The upward-facing hand of Napoleon demonstrates his natural leadership and shows that he can lead France out of its disastrous revolution phase. The French Flag appears on the bottom right of the painting. David’s use of color is an example of his color theory and helps viewers analyze layers of the art.
During the painting’s creation, David was influenced by Classical equestrian sculpture. The artist had spent years studying in Italy, and this influenced his compositions. His early works drew heavily on allegories from Classical history. Despite his interest in classical subjects, he often mythologized contemporary events. This influenced David’s portrayal of Napoleon crossing the Alps.
While the original of David’s painting is in the Palace of Charles IV, Napoleon wanted it painted by him as well. The King of Spain commissioned the painting in 1800 to honor the young General Bonaparte. He wanted him to appear calmly on a fiery horse. The King liked David’s vision and ordered four replicas – one for the Louvre and three for the Palace of Versailles.
Blue Horse I by Franz Marc
The Blue Horse I by Franz Marc is one of the most famous paintings of the 19th century. The painting is an elegant representation of the spiritual landscape and the connection between humans and nature. The soft forms and gentle hues are soothing and suggest an equine presence. The composition of the painting evokes an enchanted landscape that the viewer can almost feel. The blue horse is an excellent choice for this painting, as it has many symbolic associations.
The artist Franz Marc loved to paint animals, and in this painting, we can see a young, masculine horse. The painter also wanted to depict the world through the eyes of the animal. His work is highly symbolic and uses colours reminiscent of stained glass. This painting was his first major sale and it was one of his most popular works. It depicts the natural world and the freedom it embodies. The painting’s sensitivity to nature is evident in its design and a sense of freedom.
The Horse Fair by Rosa Bonheur
Before creating The Horse Fair, Bonheur was an established Animalier painter. The Animalier movement began in the late eighteenth century and focused on the realistic representation of animals. Bonheur’s artistic training and background in art and science allowed her to begin painting at an early age. While attending the National Veterinary Institute in Paris, she also made detailed studies of livestock at nearby farms and slaughterhouses.
The large-scale painting of the Parisian horse market by Bonheur was done over the course of a year and a half. She was inspired by a marble frieze from the Parthenon, which depicts horses under the control of their handlers. She was also inspired by the work of Theodore Gericault, a French artist who travelled to horse fairs and slaughterhouses to capture their gruesome images. The paintings depict the strength and majesty of these creatures, as well as their owners.
The original painting of The Horse Fair was nearly four times larger than the current version and caused a sensation at the 1853 Paris Salon. It is still Bonheur’s largest work and is now housed at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. The image brought Bonheur worldwide fame, despite the fact that women were generally overlooked by art critics and collectors. The original painting of ‘The Horse Fair’ had been exhibited in Britain and the US before the National Gallery’s version.
Lady Godiva by John Collier
John Collier’s Lady Godiva is a fascinating example of a pre-Raphaelite work. This work is an interesting version of a famous 11th century legend about the Countess Godiva, who sat on a horse while riding naked through Coventry. She protested oppressive taxation by riding her horse through town. However, this version of the story has no historical merit.
Originally created in 1898, this beautiful painting features a famous ride through Coventry by the naked Lady Godiva. It is held in the Herbert Art Gallery, which was a favorite of the Prince of Wales. Today, this print is made from the same choice canvas material and durable anti-shrink frames, and is guaranteed for at least a century. In addition to preserving the original painting, Lady Godiva is also a popular Victorian morality story.
The Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo da Vinci
The Battle of Anghiari by Leonardo Da Vinci is a famous lost painting by the artist. It was painted around October 1503 for the Florentine Republic’s Salone dei Cinquecento. It depicts three men on raging war horses engaged in a battle for a standard. The battle took place during the first years of republican government in Florence. Leonardo was commissioned to create a large-scale mural of the battle. Its size was 54 feet by 21 feet and would include three scenes.
Although it is unclear what led Leonardo to create this painting, the fresco was later extended by Peter Paul Rubens. This painting shows the sword of the fourth horseman, which Leonardo completed fourteen years before his death. Vasari painted a chaotic battle scene over the area. In 1976, ultrasonic tests were conducted to determine if any traces of Leonardo’s original painting were still visible. Although many copies of The Battle of Anghiari were created, no painting has ever come close to the original by Leonardo.
The 1821 Derby at Epsom by Théodore Géricault
The 1821 Derby at Epsom by Thèodore Géricault is a highly unusual painting. The artist spent a great deal of time at the imperial stables where he studied horses in detail. The horse portraits he produced included The 1821 Derby at Epsom. Although not directly related to the horse portrait series, the painting is similar in theme.
Gericault was inspired by his travels in England to paint the Derby at Epsom. The English sporting prints he studied were full of horses at high speed galloping. This helped the artist to paint the horses more accurately and show the movement of their legs and limbs. The new technology of photography made it possible for artists to capture the motion of galloping animals.